The research programmes in the Division are aimed at solving various biochemical and nutritional problems associated with fish processing and preservation and providing basic information in this area to develop new technologies/products.
Information on the biochemical constituents of fish is a primary input for the processing technologists. Through the research work in the Division has been generated an exhaustive database on proteins, lipids, fatty acids, minerals etc. present in fish and other commercially important aquatic organisms.
Proteins, lipids etc. present in fish undergo various types of changes during processing and these affect the quality of the products adversely. Proteins undergo denaturation, affecting the texture of the products. Oxidation and hydrolysis of lipids will affect the quality of the products adversely. The research work carried out in the Division has helped in identifying the factors leading to these changes and with this knowledge it has been possible for defining proper processing and storage conditions for various fishery products.
From the nutritional point of view fish possess certain special qualities. It is easily digestible and is ideal source of essential amino acids. Therefore it is considered as a protein of very high quality and biological value. The hypocholesterolemic and cardioprotective properties of fish proteins is another area of great scientific interest.
Fish lipids (fat or oils) are also endowed with very special nutritional qualities. The PUFA present in fish lipids play vital role in cholesterol metabolism, platelet aggregation and the normal functioning of the heart muscles. The Biochemistry & Nutrition Division has been conducting extensive research in this field and had proved the usefulness of fish oil as a cardioprotective agent.
These investigations have led to the development of technologies for the production of several products of biomedical applications.
It has therefore become imperative that we ensure that our fisheries products do not contain toxic substances. Within this in view, the B&N Division is keeping a constant watch on the levels of organochlorine pesticide residues, heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, antibiotic residues, aflatoxins etc. in fish and fishery product.The Division also provides the required technical support for the fish processing industry to maintain the standards set by the EU. Water used in the processing industries and fish and shell fish samples that are exported are analysed for various toxic contaminants.
The Division has successfully completed NABL audit and is an NABL accredited lab for analysis of Organochlorine pesticides by G-ECD analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by HPLC-PDA and analysis of aflatoxin by HPLC-fluorescence detection.